The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

Wes and One Big Club


I want to discuss a delicate subject today. It's a subject that we homeless and/or formerly homeless folks feel very uncomfortable discussing. It's not passing gas. It's not the heartbreak of psoriasis. It has nothing to do with hemorrhoids. Heck, homeless people almost never get hemorrhoids, they aren't allowed to sit anywhere that long.

Besides, what I have to say is more embarrassing than hemorrhoids. Here it is: Hitler Was Homeless, Too, You Know.

Hitler Supported Light Rail, Too, You Know.

A month doesn't pass us by here at Real Change that some submission doesn't arrive from a well meaning supporter, which has as its gist the alternate thought that Jesus Was Homeless, Too, You Know. And we almost invariably reject said submissions, with extreme prejudice.

Writers want to know why. Now you all have it, here's your answer, I'll say it again: Hitler Was Homeless, Too, You Know.

You just can't have one without the other. If you make a big deal that one of us was a Son of God, you have to also allow that one of our number turned out to be an icon of evil incarnate.

For that matter, if I have to own Christ's homelessness, I would also have to own the temporary homelessnesses of William Shatner and Joan Rivers. Would YOU want to be compared to William Shatner and Joan Rivers? I thought not. There, now you know how I feel.

Recently a satisfied reader informed me of a site on the internet that lists "noted celebrities", both alive and dead, who have been homeless at one time, and pointed out that somehow the list mistakenly contains my name! When have I been a "noted celebrity?"

But there I am. The site is at for those who are internet linked and want to see this nonsense with their own eyes. I am on the same list with William Shatner and Joan Rivers! I'm on the same list as Sally Jesse Raphael! AND Jesus! Oh, the shame.

And the worst of it is, Hitler isn't on the list. That makes it worse, because it makes it look like we are all trying to say that we formerly homeless belong to one big club of good guys.

As if homelessness were ennobling, when it's only a very tiring and dis-abling experience, of itself.

Our goal here at Real Change is to break down stereotypes about homelessness while focusing attention on the fact that the real problem is a shortage of affordable housing. Not to make the homeless (or the obdachlosig) out to be saints.

Maybe Hitler could help there. In one respect Hitler fit the stereotype of the lazy panhandler. At least, he DID turn down some work, as being beneath his dignity. And he did resort to begging.

On the other hand, in spite of that, he managed to work his way out of park benches and into a hostel (today's reader read: "transitional housing") in a matter of months.

Also, Hitler's situation was clearly due to the overcrowding of Vienna at that time, and the corresponding lack of affordable housing. Whatever else was wrong with him, he wasn't a drug addict or an alcoholic. He wasn't even mentally ill, so much as anyone noticed at the time.

I can't quit without mentioning some other "Hitler Was ___, Too, You Know" lines.

Hitler Was a Teenager, Too, You Know. Hitler Was an Artist, Too, You Know. Hitler Was a President, Too, You Know. Hitler Was a Self-Righteous Former Smoker, Too, You Know -- he even came up with the idea of warning labels! Hitler Supported Light Rail, Too, You Know.

Hee. I made that last one up.

© Dr. Wes Browning:
2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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